By Kim Kwang-tae
SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is believed to have secured the technology to miniaturize its nuclear weapons, an opposition lawmaker said Thursday, a development that could theoretically enable it to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile.
The communist country had pledged to abandon its nuclear programs in return for security guarantees and other diplomatic and economic concessions from South Korea, the United States and other regional powers.
The North, however, has defied the disarmament deals and continued to pursue its nuclear weapons program in what it claims is self-defense against the U.S. nuclear threat.
Opposition lawmaker Song Young-sun said North Korea could be capable of making its nuclear weapons smaller, citing Japan's defense white paper released earlier this month.
She said the North could put a nuclear device onto its Scud short-range missiles or Rodong medium-range missiles, which she said would pose a serious threat to South Korea.
Prospects for nuclear-tipped missiles could also raise security concerns in the region and beyond, considering that the North's Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile is believed to be capable of reaching as far as Alaska.
In June, South Korea's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told lawmakers that he suspects North Korea has completed development of smaller nuclear warheads that it can deliver by missiles or aircraft.
But the defense minister said his remarks were based on suspicion, not firm evidence.
North Korea, which conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, revealed last November that it was running a uranium enrichment facility, which could provide Pyongyang with a second way of building atomic bombs in addition to the existing plutonium-based program.
The North has expressed its interest in returning to the nuclear disarmament talks it quit in 2009. The talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
Please work out any matters you have with warnings or bans with the Moderator responsible...only after this has not worked may you e-mail an Administrator for questions about bans or warnings...